Onyinye OyedeleMonday, July 28, 2014




awkers at the annual Lagos International Trade Fair often "strayed" into the British, American, and German Pavilions. They were often reprimanded and restricted from hawking inside the pavilions notable for thronging traffic. These expensive exhibition tents were extremely cozy and appealing. They were equipped with powerful air conditioners, fans, comfy chairs and tables, beautiful and elaborate displays. The exhibitors were also smartly dressed. The companies represented were multinationals, booming and upcoming businesses in the country hoping to stamp their presence. In addition, they were there to grab the attention of the people through 'aggressive' marketing. Youngsters, mostly university students who got temporary jobs in these posh Pavilions were the envy of other students who walked up and down the old Trade Fair venue at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), hawking their wares in the scorching heat! These Pavilions are a place to hide for relief and protection from the sizzling sun. It is a momentary "escape" from the harsh realities of hustling to sell goods at the fair. Remarkably, this place of shelter is important for everyday living. Call it a Pavilion or a Gazebo, we all need a "secret" place to hide from life's struggles; a place of refuge and comfort.

Home is a Pavilion. It is the place where you find love, comfort, and peace. A home is a sanctuary you are happy to return to, no matter the failures experienced outside. It is not just the quality of bricks, wood and metals used for building that makes it a safe Pavilion; it is also the people who live in it. A home is a lifelong Pavilion!

Parents are like a Pavilion to their children. They are the image of comfort and security for their children in an often harsh world. As children grow, they need to know that the open arms of their parents are available to them. Sometimes what they need is a listening ear, a hug, and a heart that understands. Just as children look up to their parents as Pavilions, parents and indeed everyone can look up to God as the ultimate and most reliable Pavilion.

King David in the bible, a man who was always running, hiding and seeking protection said, "For in the time of trouble, he shall hide me in His Pavilion..." (Psalm 27:5). Thou shalt keep them secretly in a Pavilion..." (Psalms 31: 20). In life, we are often desperately in need of a place to escape from pain....a place of calm reassurance. And it is under the divine Pavilion that one can race to.

In conclusion, our nation is in need of the divine Pavilion; a place of comfort for hurting families, a refuge from incessant trouble, and a divine intervention to shield innocent people from harm. Let our prayers continue to be... "God please hide Nigeria under your Gazebo! Hide Nigeria under your Tent! Please hide Nigeria under your Pavilion!"